Tag Archives: Human rights

As Trump Downplays Attack on Kurds, Amnesty Details Turkish War Crimes and ‘Utterly Callous Disregard for Civilian Life’

“Killing defenseless people in cold blood is utterly reprehensible and a blatant war crime,” said Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2019

The Kurdish authorities have been accusing the Turkish Army of using chemical weapons against the YPG fighters and the civilian population. Photo: Yan Boechat/Twitter

Just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed Turkey’s assault on Kurds in Syria by likening it to a parking lot squabble, Amnesty International on Friday presented damning evidence that Turkish forces and their allies have committed war crimes and displayed a “shameful disregard for civilian life” in northeastern Syria.

Based on video footage, medical records, and witness testimony from journalists and aid workers, Amnesty’s new report details numerous appalling instances of Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies indiscriminately bombarding residential areas, abducting civilians, and committing murder in cold blood. Continue reading

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Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of Israel in US Schools

“Fanatical Zionists are pushing U.S. state legislatures to pass sweeping new restrictions on free speech.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2019

Concerns about state-level legislation outlawing anti-Semitism in U.S. public schools relate to a wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. (Image: Shutterstock)

Human rights and free speech advocates responded with alarm Thursday to a Guardian report revealing that pro-Israel and right-wing lobbyists are encouraging Republican state lawmakers to pass legislation that could outlaw discussions about the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian territory at all levels of the U.S. public education system under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

Concerns about the legislation relate to its wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. According to The Guardian: Continue reading

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The Turkish invasion of Syria: A new hope for Jihadists

What are the geopolitical stakes of Turkey’s invasion of Syria?

By Chris Den Hond. Published 10-16-2019 by openDemocracy

Translated by Janet Biehl

From the moment Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria, Turkey wasted no time in launching an invasion of northern Syria. To understand the geopolitical stakes, I asked four people close to the situation for their assessments:

Salih Muslim, is spokesperson for the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria. Fehim Taştekin, is an analyst and journalist, based in Vienna. Agit Polat, is spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) and based in Paris. Raphaël Lebrujah, is a journalist in Qamishlo.

I asked each of them about several important topics. Continue reading

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US State Dept. Under Fire for Using Official Website to Promote Pompeo’s “Christian Nationalist Talking Points”

“The Department of State looks more like it should be representing the Republic of Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale than an America that respects religious equality under the law.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered his address, titled “Being a Christian Leader,” to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo: Screengrab/State Department Website)

The State Department on Monday was accused of blatantly violating the constitutional principle of separation of religion and government by plastering the homepage of its website with an October 11 speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touting his Christian faith.

Pompeo delivered his “Being a Christian Leader” address to a gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors last Friday in Nashville, Tennessee. The Secretary of State’s trip to Nashville was funded by U.S. taxpayers. Continue reading

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It’s Time for Effective Oversight of Police Violence

Would the possibility of mandatory sentencing make a police officer think twice before pulling the trigger? What about them having to forego their pensions, or pay victims’ families from their 401Ks?

By . Published 10-14-2019 by YES! Magazine

Thurma. n Blevins “Please don’t shoot me!” March in Minneapolis on July 31,2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

Atatiana Jefferson is dead.

The 28-year-old was shot and killed in her Texas home by a Fort Worth police officer on October 12. According to reports, the officer was responding to a nonemergency call for a wellness, or welfare, check. Jefferson’s neighbor made the call when he saw “both her front doors opened and all the lights on in her house” at 2 a.m.

Police body cam footage of the shooting shows the officer walking around Jefferson’s house for a little over a minute before yelling, “Put your hands up. Show me your hands [unintelligible],” and immediately fires his weapon. The officer—who is not heard identifying himself as law enforcement in the footage—claims he “perceived a threat,” according to a statement issued by Fort Worth police. Continue reading

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Kurds Strike Deal With Syrian Government to Battle Turkey’s Offensive After Trump Orders Evacuation of Remaining US Troops

“About 130,000 people have been displaced in Syria… with at least 60 civilian casualties in Syria and 18 dead in Turkey.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-13-2019

A protest in support of the Kurds in front of the Turkish Embassy in Seattle. Photo: Amy Moreno/Twitter

Kurdish forces in northern Syria announced Sunday that the Syrian government has agreed to deploy troops to battle an ongoing Turkish offensive against the Kurds after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 American troops in the region.

Following a call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last weekend, Trump withdrew about 50 U.S. troops from the Turkey-Syria border. Critics accused Trump of betraying Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey on Wednesday launched airstrikes and ground incursions targeting Kurdish-held areas. Continue reading

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The Blunt Truth About Turkey’s Attack on US-Backed Kurds in Syria

The media’s framing of this offensive seems to be part and parcel of its overall coverage of the Syrian war since 2011.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 10-11-2019 by The Mind Unleashed

Turkey’s offensive into Syria bears all the hallmarks of a potential crime. It is also has the added uncertain elements of a potential regrouping of the remnants of the Islamic State’s caliphate, as thousands of prisoners could end up being freed once key positions are abandoned by Kurdish forces, or overrun by Turkey.

Yet no one seems to be asking if in fact this is one of the covert aims of the offensive, given Turkey has been heavily documented as a key backer of ISIS forces in Syria for years. Sounds absurd, but we are talking about a regime who was caught providing ISIS fighters with medical treatment. Continue reading

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Less Than 24 Hours After Saying ‘Time to Bring ‘Em Home,’ Trump Orders 1,800 US Troops to Saudi Arabia

“Remember when Donald Trump tweeted that he was ‘trying to end the endless wars?’ That was yesterday.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-11-2019

Less than a day after President Donald Trump bragged to supporters at a campaign-style rally in Minnesota Thursday that he was working hard to bring U.S. soldiers home from foreign wars, the Pentagon announced Friday that 1,800 troops and advanced weapons systems have been ordered to Saudi Arabia—a move critics decried as both hypocritical and deeply dangerous.

“This is a dangerous escalation of a crisis created by the president’s inability to conduct a coherent and sensible foreign policy and his reliance on the war hawks who profit from endless war,” advocacy group Win Without War said on Twitter. Continue reading

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By Allowing 6 Million Lead Service Lines to Stay In Ground, EPA’s Lead Rule Update Will Do Little to Protect Drinking Water, Critics Say

The EPA must remove service lines “before another generation of children grows up drinking lead from their kitchen tap water,” said the NRDC

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-10-2019

Water rights and public health groups said Thursday that the EPA’s overhaul of the nation’s lead rules would not do enough to protect people from lead toxicity. (Photo: wonderisland/Shutterstock)

Public health groups that have waited decades for the federal government to overhaul its lead-in-water rules were outraged Thursday over EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s “wrongheaded” plan to update the regulations .

The overhaul, which Wheeler detailed at a press conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, does not include the removal of at least six million lead service lines that have been underground for decades. Continue reading

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Critics Warn ‘Deeply Chilling’ Betrayal by Trump Paves Path for Turkish Slaughter of Kurdish Allies

“One way in which Trump is very consistent and stable when it comes to American presidential norms over the decades is betraying Kurds.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2019

Photo: Steen Schøn/Twitter

In a move that was cast by critics as both irresponsible and a betrayal of key allies in the Middle East, President Donald Trump announced Sunday that U.S. forces are withdrawing from north-eastern Syria and leaving the region’s Kurdish population vulnerable to slaughter as neighboring Turkey readies an invasion.

“The Americans are traitors,” a Kurdish official told NBC News as the news broke late Sunday night. “They have abandoned us to a Turkish massacre.” Continue reading

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